OREANDA-NEWS. On 7 December 2016, the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) approved a compromise text agreed with the European Parliament on an amendment to the Schengen Borders Code to reinforce checks against relevant databases at external borders.

"This achievement was only made possible through the hard work and commitment of everyone involved", said Robert Kaliňák, Interior Minister of Slovakia and President of the Council. "It is an important response to the increase of terrorist threat in Europe and particularly crucial in the context of tackling the problem of foreign fighters."

The amendment obliges member states to carry out systematic checks on all persons, including persons enjoying the right of free movement under EU law (i.e. EU citizens and members of their families who are not EU citizens) when they cross the external border against databases on lost and stolen documents, as well as in order to verify that those persons do not represent a threat to public order and internal security. This obligation shall apply at all external borders (air, sea and land borders), both at entry and exit.

However, where a systematic consultation of databases on all persons enjoying the right of free movement under Union law could lead to a disproportionate impact on the flow of traffic at a sea and land border, member states may carry out only targeted checks against databases, provided that a risk assessment shows this does not lead to risks related to internal security, public policy, international relations of the member states or a threat to public health.

As regards air borders, the institutions agreed that member states may use this possibility, but only during a transitional period of 6 months from the entry into force of the amended regulation. This period may be prolonged by a maximum of 18 month in exceptional cases, where at a specific airport there are infrastructural difficulties requiring a longer period of time for adaptations to allow for the carrying out of systematic consultations of databases without disproportionate impact on the flow of traffic.